The Rise of East Asian Produced Footwear
It’s amazing to see how far the shoe industry has come in last 10 years. Back then, it was strictly all about Italy, England, a bit of US made shoes and some French ones too…but England and Italy were the dominant players. Now it’s all changed. While England and Italy still remain dominant players on the team of countries, they have slowly been losing their proportion of the power as countries such as Spain, Portugal, Hungary, Romania and East Asia get bigger and bigger not only in shoe production, but most importantly in their reputation for churning out a well made product. And that brings us to the subject at hand, East Asia, as for me it is the most surprising as well as intriguing to this idea of unexpected countries becoming known for shoemaking. First it was Ed Et Al and D.C. Lewis (American brand, made out of SE Asia) and now it is growing to incorporate the new players of the industry such as the ones presented in this post: Massimo Ferrari and Atelier LLYR.
The first of the two companies, is Massimo Ferrari, birthed by Luis Antonio Torres and Ken Ly and found in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam. With the shoes being made in Vietnam using a goodyear welted construction and leathers from the top tanneries in Italy and France, Massimo Ferrari has set it upon themselves to offer a relatively classical shoe range but with the addition of custom patinas, as you can see above. Also incorporated is what seems to be an extensive amount of hand detailing such as the pitched heels, slight fiddleback waist, nail pattern in the heel and what looks like a semi-hand lasted waist. All of these attributes make them look like serious shoes and ones that are actually made to quite a high a standard. The only thing to wonder about is how they fit and feel. But fret not, I will soon be writing a review on them, so stay tuned……Pricing is as follows:
– Slippers from $225 – $300 USD Blake leather outsoles, leather lined, pitched heels
– Goodyear welted loafers/oxfords/darbys patina finishing from $395.00 – $425.00 USD
– Goodyear Welted Chukka – from $375.00 – $450.00 USD
– Goodyear Welted Lace up Boots from $425.00 – $475.00 USD
The next brand in the spotlight is called Atelier LLYR, whom are a Singaporean based company (watch out Ed Et Al), but from what it looks like make their shoes out of the same region as the rest of them. Quite classic looking in nature, it would appear that their current speciality is either mixing colors and/or materials together. The very familiar classis shoes with a twist. They have started off quite basic, currently offering only 6 different models (of which are available for sale on their site) but from the looks of some of the pictures on their FB page, have some interesting new models in the mix. I have my eye on that sweet looking tassel loafer on what looks to be a perfect last shape (the top pic). Will look forward to seeing more of it soon and hopefully in some fun colors! Pricing rings in at SGD$375, which is just over Ed ET Al, but still very very reasonable for shoes of this calibre and certainly better looking not only in style but also in quality to the equivalent price point shoes that you find here in England.
I really look forward to seeing what these brands bring to the table once they get a bit bigger. They both seem promising in their own ways and it makes me happy to see that other industries are making themselves known in the footwear industry. With brands like these offering affordable footwear (relatively), it only makes it that much more easier for my goal of seeing men wearing better shoes, that much more feasible!
Justin, “The Shoe Snob”